11.23.22 (PRESS RELEASE) – Today, a Kansas state court blocked a 2011 law that prohibited doctors from providing medication abortion via telemedicine. The preliminary injunction was issued in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2019 on behalf of Trust Women, which operates a clinic in Wichita and previously operated a clinic in Oklahoma City until that clinic was forced to shut down due to Oklahoma’s numerous abortion bans. Telemedicine will allow facilities like Trust Women to expand access to abortion services for people in Kansas.
“This decision will further open up abortion care in Kansas at a time it’s urgently needed. In this post-Roe world, telemedicine can make the difference in being able to receive abortion care or not.” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Today’s decision paves the way for Kansas abortion clinics to expand services to women in remote, underserved areas of Kansas. We will continue to fight telemedicine bans in states across the U.S. since it is a pivotal tool for the future of abortion care.”
Telemedicine allows patients to access abortion care sooner and expands access to patients in rural areas. As more and more clinics close due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, telemedicine is becoming an increasingly important tool for expanding access. To date, abortion is entirely banned in 12 states and at least 66 abortion clinics have closed across the country.
Currently, 18 states have laws that prohibit the use of telemedicine for medication abortion. Medication abortion has been FDA approved for more than 20 years and is extremely safe whether provided in-person or by telemedicine. More information on the safety of medication abortion can be found here.
“Expanding access to abortion care through telemedicine is a critical component of addressing the health care needs of our region, especially in the face of the manufactured health care crisis caused by abortion bans in Texas and Oklahoma, and backed by the disastrous decision by the Supreme Court in Dobbs,” said Rebecca Tong, co-executive director of Trust Women. “As we continue to provide health care for thousands of medically disenfranchised people across the Midwest and South, access to telemedicine services for Kansans will go a long way to easing the strain on our reproductive health care systems in the state.”
Earlier this year, in a landslide vote, Kansans rejected an anti-abortion ballot measure that would have eliminated the fundamental right to abortion under the state constitution. In 2019, in a case won by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution protects the right to abortion.
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